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How to Prune a Tree Peony

peony bud image by Alison Bowden from

Native to China and Japan, tree peonies grow well in both full sun and dappled sun. The plants produce flowers in an array of colors, from red and fuchsia to yellow and white. Tree peonies can bloom for 50 to 80 years with proper care, according to Tree Peony Garden. Most tree peonies reach 4 to 7 feet in height and 4 to 5 feet in width. Pruning is an important part of tree peony care and should be done annually in late spring.

Wait until the year following planting to prune. The best time to prune tree peonies is during the spring.

Cut away any unwanted shoots that emerge from the ground near the base of the tree peony.

Thin out the canopy when your tree peony becomes too bushy. Select six to 10 of the strongest, healthiest stems on your tree peony. Trim all other shoots back to the main trunk with your lopping shears. Thinning out the canopy increases air circulation through the tree peony, which helps keep the peony healthy.

Prune away low-growing foliage to expose the trunk of the tree peony if you want to shape it in the traditional Asian manner. This step is not necessary and is personal preference.

Thin out the flower buds, leaving only one to two buds per twig. By doing this, you'll have fewer flowers but they will be larger.

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